Three local athletes have just returned from the first ever Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year round athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them the opportunities that some of us take for granted.
"Because they see the other kids doing it and if they didn't have something to do, they would say, 'How come?'" said Ethel Dasis, mother of Special Olympian Daniel Dasis.
David Smith, Daniel Dasis, and Phillip Spence all earned medals at the games. Smith bowled a high of 145 points while competing in singles, doubles and team bowling.
"It's fun to do. (Do you like the competition?) Yes, sir," said David.
Daniel Dasis brought home a bronze medal, competing in nine-hole golf. In doing so, he set a record low score during one of his rounds.
"Beating my dad now!" said Daniel, when asked what he likes most about playing golf.
Everyone wants to come in first, second, or third at the games, but the real triumph is having the courage to compete. Even so, just like any athlete, the participants in Special Olympics train hard for the gold.
"I swim every day and every once in a while. (Why do you like to swim?) Because it's fun," said Phillip.
And that's what the Special Olympics is all about: having fun, demonstrating courage to compete, and experiencing joy with family, friends and other athletes.